What Are Automatic Item Updates

From Google:  Automatic item updates can help you keep your data more accurate and up-to-date by automatically using your landing page data to update your product data. Automatic item updates allow Google to update your products on Shopping ads, Buy on Google, and free product listings using the structured data markup we find on your website and advanced data extractors. Automatic item updates is currently offered for the price [price] and availability [availability] attributes. Click to Read the Google Support Article on Automatic Item Updates.

Using the structured data on your webpage, the Google bot will crawl your page and the product listing update price and/or availability in the merchant center product.  

For example, in a traditional Google Merchant Center feed, you may have the price of Offer ID “Widget-A” is $10.98.  Since the last time the price was updated in the merchant center, you changed the product’s price to $9.98, which would be a mismatch between the Offer ID price in the merchant center vs. the product’s landing page on your website.  If your structured data is correct, Google will update the Offer ID on the website to match the product landing page on your website.

This is useful if you not updating your feed in real-time.  If there is a disparity between the stock status or price between the Offer ID in the Google Merchant Center and your product landing page, that Offer ID will be de- listed.  If you have automatic updates enabled, you should not have this problem…assuming the structured data on your website is correct.

Where to Turn Automatic Item Updates On or Off

Once your are logged into your Google Merchant Center account, click the sprocket wheel located in the upper right hand corner.  Under “Settings,” click the link labeled “Automatic Updates.”  Once there, you should see a screen similar to the image below.

google merchant center automatic improvements turned off

Turn This Off When Using Live API Updates

In the KB article, How to Export Google Listings From Sproxi to the Google Merchant Center Using Feed Manager we explain how to enable exports for Google Listings to the connected Google Merchant Center account. 

We recommend using “Live API Updates” to ensure changes to your Google Listings in Sproxi will immediately update and export to the Google Merchant Center.  Because of this, we also recommend you disable “Automatic Item Updates” to the Google Merchant Center.”  This is because any changes to your website, and ultimately your Google Listings in Sproxi will immediately be sent to the Google Merchant Center.

Enabling Automatic Item Updates WILL NOT conflict with the API service at all, but there’s really no need for Google to update listings in the Merchant Center.  If you are confident that the structured data on your products landing page is correct, there should not be issues.

Problems will arise, regardless of what feed service you use if you have “Automatic Item Updates” turned on, but the structured data on your site is not correct.

For example, you have a particular variation showing as “out of stock” on your product landing page.  The structured data, however, is not reflecting variations correctly and is actually showing the stock status of the parent product.  In this case, Google will OVERRIDE the stock status for the particular Offer ID in the Google Merchant Center with what it sees in your structure data.

Using “Feed CSV File” in Update Manager

When using the “Feed CSV File” in Sproxi’s Feed Manager, your Google Listings inside Sproxi are still updated in real-time, but are not sent to the Google Merchant center again (provided you sent the CSV file link in the GMC feed details) until the 24 hour update period.  You can learn more about these settings in the Feed Manager KB Article.  In this case you may want to enable “Automatic Item Updates” to ensure your data is sync’d between your website and the Google Merchant Center.

One important note about this, however.  The Google Bot may crawl your product every day.  In that case, the CSV uploaded file would already have updated the Offer ID in the Google Merchant Center anyway.